MLS- Sporting Kansas City

Onalfo out as Kansas City head coach

Curt Onalfo (ISIphotos.com)

Curt Onalfo has been fired as head coach of the Kansas City Wizards, teams sources informed SBI on Monday evening. The club is expected to name an interim head coach on Tuesday (with general manager Peter Vermes mentioned as a likely choice to take the position for the remainder of the year).

The move comes just two days after the Wizards suffered an embarrassing 6-0 loss to FC Dallas, but team sources tell SBI that the move was not a knee-jerk reaction to Saturday's result. The Wizards are 5-7-6 and currently in sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

(UPDATE)- The Wizards just made the news official, with this statement coming from Wizards CEO and president Robb Heineman:

"Our shareholder group is thankful for Curt Onalfo's service over the last two-and-a-half seasons, but we felt a change needed to be made," Heineman said. "We are committed to developing high-performance and consistency around our club."

Onalfo compiled a 27-29-22 record over three seasons in charge of the Wizards, leading the team to the playoffs in each of his first two seasons.

Onalfo had appeared to be safe in his job, but Wizards ownership ultimately decided that the club hadn't shown enough progress during Onalfo's three seasons and decided to push things into a different direction.

So who might replace Onalfo?

The Wizards will name an interim replacement on Tuesday and general manager Peter Vermes is being mentioned as the likely interim choice. As far as potential long-term replacements, one name that comes to mind is Columbus Crew technical director and former Kansas City Wizards assistant Brian Bliss. Not sure if Bliss is being considered but I know he was someone who was seriously interested in becoming a head coach, has the credentials, and did help build an MLS Cup champion in Columbus.

Another person who I saw recently who told me he had some things in the works is former MetroStars and Los Angeles Galaxy head coach Octavio Zambrano. Don't see any obvious ties between Zambrano and the current Wizards group, but he is still one of the winningest coaches in league history despite not having coached in the league since 2002. He is coaching in Hungary, but was recently in the United States working with the FIFA technical committee during the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Zambrano would absolutely love to return to MLS, but has struggled to get serious looks since being fired as MetroStars head coach in 2002.

One other name to consider as a long-term solution is Chivas USA head coach Preki, who has strong ties to Kansas City, having starred there for nine of his ten MLS seasons as a player.

The decision will ultimately be Peter Vermes' to make and you have to wonder who he might have in mind.

What do you think of the news? Who do you see replacing Onalfo? Share your thoughts below.

  • MZ

    I would have thought he would have got to the end of the season. He was popular, this is a surprise


  • Fredy

    I think he got what he deserved, he imo was a classless crybaby (ala calling Montero a “punk” at a press conference). Good riddance


  • Danny

    Anyone that calls Montero a “punk” is a good guy in my book. To call a stalker a “punk” is pretty tame in my book. Too bad he’s gone.


  • Andrew

    Real shock that he was the first MLS coach to go this season. (Mostly it’s a real shock that someone other than Osorio was the first one sacked.)


  • bigtfw

    Great move by KC. This clown had zero class on the field. He bitched and moaned at officials when his teams were just plain not as good.

    Danny, he only called Montero a “punk” because of the sure fire penalty called against his team in the final minutes, I was at that game and he was yelling at just about everyone including the security guards and police after he was about to get in a physical altercation with the officials.

    This fool is classless.


  • isaac

    good job KC in letting go Onalfo, I think the Wizards should not just hire the first coach available. My choice of hiring has to be, what people hate to hear, a foreign hiring. The only way to get that is to splash the cash, so how about Avram Grant, Ruud Gullit or Johan Cruyff. How about one of those coaches to be the manager of the wizards when they open there new stadium.


  • Jimmy Bobo

    I thought this dude and Vermes were tight. It must have been difficult for this firing to have materialized between friends. Wasn’t it a year or so ago that other teams were trying to lure him away but he chose to stay in KC because of his tight bond with the ownership group? Anyway, he’s history. I never knew that he had called Freddy Montero a “punk.” Onalfo must have been at his wits’ end.


  • cbr

    this makes a lot of sense….fire a coach now and use this year to get ready for next year with a new coach.

    if only RBNY ownership had such basic logic


  • Steve

    Lol I echo the sentiment of some, but what has to hurt worse than getting canned is knowing you got fired before JCO: Master Tactician


  • Jamar Beasley

    I think this is Ives’ fault! He kept saying K.C. were going to be a top team in the league. The K.C. owners probably read his column and now they are taking it out on Onalfo! 🙂

    Seriously, it just goes to show that your coaching ability or your team’s play aren’t necessarily what gets a coach fired. Onalfo is the first coach to be fired this year? Really? I would have fired Dallas’ coach or even Kreis who seems to keep his job because he has “passion” rather than any coaching ability. I won’t even bother to mention JCO anymore since he obviously has some kind of hold over the NYRB organization or he would have been fired a LONG time ago. I think he has tenure. By the way, NYRB really should pick up Terry Cook.


  • Randy

    Peter Vermes is taking over as Interim Coach for the remainder of the season per the Kansas City Star.


  • RLW2020

    issac — i think grant, gullit and cruyff would respectfully decline an offer from a team that plays in a minor league baseball stadium in kansas. i think Zambrano is a more likely fit for your call

    what about Bob Gansler, i know he was the coach there for a while now with TFC.


  • Beech

    Robb Heineman fired Onalfo not Vermes. Vermes has been named the interim coach for the remainder of the season. Assistant Coach Kelderman was released as well. Leaving Vermes and Zavagnin to run the ship. Absolutely the right move. The Wizards have to look at how they’re going to sell 18,500 tickets in a little over a year and Onalfo was not simply getting it done on the field. Now Vermes gets to hand pick this next coach and if it doesn’t work he’s easily the next to go.

    Who knew Kansas City would be showing New York the proper way to run a club.


  • toreadore

    There are many questions we have to have with hiring a coach in todays MLS. The American player is too pampered and maybe in this instance so was Onalfo. But really he only got the job because he was one of Bruce Arenas clonies, same as Sarachan when he was in Chicago. Kansas City needs a coach that isn’t going to bend over for the foreign player that comes in wanting everything on a silver platter.

    Zambrano is good choice, so is Fernando Clavijo. Or how about Vermes himself. Preki, the fans would love. But then Martin Vasquez would take the Chivas USA job.


  • dan

    Fernando Clavijo toreadore? You have got to be kidding. Did you not see him coaching Colorado? He’d be horrible for any MLS team to get.


  • RHB

    It’s funny, made the trip to Dallas on saturday….bad idea….and it was the Dallas fans wanting a new head coach, but it was the Wiz that got one……irony? Or just some good luck.lol


  • Leonardo

    he’s ugly

    btw i dont care much for east coast team at all, but how the heck is RBNY still with the same coach? dude they really do have administrative issues…


  • Kingsnake

    And yet, despite getting pounded more often than ass in gay porno, Assorio and Agoof remain in charge of Red Bull.


  • Thomas513

    I do not think this is a surprise to those hanging around the KC blogs. There is a strong contingent of the KC supporters that were ready to see this guy out.

    As a non-Harry Potter fan, I really do not care but I hope they do not get a great coach before the end of the year. It is tight enough for playoff sports without the Wiz involved.


  • MVK

    YES YES YES THANK YOU ON GOAL LLC FOR HAVING THE BALLS TO MAKE THE CHANGE QUICKLY. Well quickly compared to other suffering MLS clubs at the least.

    My family and friends that follow the team have been wanting this, and the it seems all the ppl commenting on downthebyline and hillcrestroad are happy about this as well


  • Lucy

    Gee, big surprise to see Seattle fans bringing up the punk comment. Guess what….there will still be PUNK signs when Seattle visits KC in October, because Montero still is a punk!


  • MVK

    “Gee, big surprise to see Seattle fans bringing up the punk comment. Guess what….there will still be PUNK signs when Seattle visits KC in October, because Montero still is a punk!”

    And Montero will still look to dive whenever he has the chance… im a KC supporter but I thought the “punk” comment was way over the line, even if it is true. Onalfo let his emmotions get to him way to often, i dont know if it rubbed off on the team badly but you wouldnt think it helped.

    FYI- really bad pic of Onalfo for those commenting on it, i think it might be stretched, hes not like skinny but his head is def taller than it is wide in real life.


  • Mikemike

    5-7-6? Ha! The guy should be given an extension. He could still be an MLS Cup Finalist.


  • soccerroo

    My hope is that KC hires FC Dallas coach so we can get a new coach. That is the only way things will change in Dallas. But my guess is they will try and get Preki after the season.


  • KCB


    All the KC supporters just took a breath of relief this morning/last night. To bad it’s a LONG road ahead for us. Best case scenario is a late season revival, make the playoffs, and have something to build on for next season. Worst case, we turn into the Royals. But there should be some major unloading for KC in the offseason including all their players from South America (hopefully). KC needs a fresh start for next season.

    To bad Red Bull doesn’t have the balls that OnGoal does in KC. Good luck RBNY supporters. Cheering for you guys in Champions League.


  • Mike Caramba

    Does anyone else get the feeling that Onalfo is about to tell someone to “Cut. It. Out.” in that picture above?


  • EvenIsOn!

    Zavagnin! Just kidding. I hope he gets a chance to stay when the next staff comes in, though.

    OnGoal has to go after Preki! We need a coach who is a proven winner who understands the MLS. What we don’t need (listen up, Vermes and OnGoal) is some retread who had to go to Hungary to keep working (Zambrano) or another obscure assistant like Onalfo.

    I have to admit I am a little concerned about ending up with Zambrano, since the Wizards just signed a striker from Hungary and Vermes has ties there.

    I agree with KCB that there needs to be some housecleaning after the season, but I wouldn’t limit it to the South Americans. Yes, I’m looking at you Lance Watson and Rauwshan McKenzie…

    OnGoal and Vermes also need to step up and use that DP slot that Lopez vacated.


  • inkedAG

    It amazes me that KC have a not that great a record and yet RB has THE WORST RECORD IN HISTORY and they still have that fool JCO employed. UNREAL!!!!!


  • Aaron Nickless

    I’m a little surprised they didn’t let him finish the season, but it was time for Onalfo to go. I also think Vermes should probably go since he was involved with picking players. Hopefully Zavagnin will stay though to learn more about coaching. That said, I hope KC gets a good defensive minded coach because that is what MLS is lacking. Plus I like defense and what KC to basically shutout everyone next year. Of course we actually have to get good defensive players outside of Conrad and Besler. I’m definitely down with overhauling the offense though.


  • Ed

    Vermes needs to go as well. He picks the players after all.

    I’ve worked with the guys on youth programs and can say that he does NOT have a good eye to recognize talent…


  • Dave

    Vermes picked the players and got rid of a lot of vetren talent and brought in younger players. It also appeared that Onalfo was told to rotate players and give the young guys experience. Bet someone else wanted to coach and unless KC totally implodes, I will bet that Vermes will be the “real” head coach next season as well.

    Has everyone forgotten that Vermes was rumored to be a coaching candidate at two different clubs last year? Sometimes you need to see the trees for the forest.


  • soccerplus 9

    ya, um, kansas city is doing good, yet ther coach gets fired, but somehow osorio keeps his job. something doesnt seem right here


Add your comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More from SBI Soccer